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Boston 50, Texas 39, Us 35, Cnn 10, Chicago 9, Eric Williams 8, Geico 7, Angie 6, Jake Tapper 5, Mississippi 5, Fbi 4, Brooke Baldwin 4, David Mattingly 4, Virginia 4, Rick Perry 4, Hertz 3, Neutrogena 3, Kaufman 3, Wfaa 3, Erin 3,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
   with a focus on global news, trends and destinations. New.  

    April 18, 2013
    11:00 - 12:59pm PDT  

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district attorney and his wife in texas. a major development in this case, jake, as you know, has stymied investigators and caused a lot of fear in the law community. we'll begin in texas with search and rescue teams. they are combing through the debris in an incident at the west fertilizer plant. and i did say search and rescue, as the plant continues to smolder this afternoon, authorities are not ready to give up on finding survivors trapped in the rubble from the blast. it could be felt 50 miles away. we don't know yet how many people are missing, but they do include several members of the area's all-volunteer fire department. scores of people were injured in the blast. there's a heavy police presence, of course, in neighborhoods damaged by the blast. only search and rescue teams are being allowed in. there's been one isolated report of looting and many, many reports of neighbors helping neighbor. this all started when the fire broke out in the fertilizer
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plant in the tiny north central texas town of west, population 2,600. last evening, right as people wrapped up dinner. some drove closer to the plant to watch, that's when it exploded. >> you okay? >> i can't hear. i can't hear. get out of here. please, get out of here. >> oh, my god. >> please, get out of here. >> we're in -- we just saw an explosion on the horizon. >> we need every ambulance we can get this way. a bomb just went off inside here. it's pretty bad. >> 50 to 75 houses damaged. there's an apartment complex th has about 50 units in it that was completely just skeletons standing up. >> the rest home is damaged. we have many people down. police, please respond.
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>> getting you everybody i can. you have deputies, you have fire, you have ems. i'm sending everybody i got. >> the couch that i had been on when i came down, i looked at it, the couch wasn't there. it was rights in front of a big bay window and it was shredded from the glass from the bay window. >> it, like, picked you up, it took your breath away, then it dropped you. it exploded everything around you. i mean, gusts of wind, it was like a suction and then, just blew it all out. >> one man last night told me from a mile away when it went off, it sounded like a bomb in the backyard, the mayor described it as a nuclear bomb, heard the first responders talking about a bomb. that's how it sounded to the people that were there. we're getting an up-close look at the damage the actual plant blast caused in the town of west. as we've been emphasizing, there was an immediate nucleus of the explosion, then there was miles away windows being completely
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blown off. david takes us on a tour of the devastated neighborhood. >> reporter: the devastation we're seeing now that daylight is out. this appears to be what was a home over here completely just obliterated, smoking, char. if we keep moving around, i will show you over here, you can see some remnants of the home. watch out for this power line here. watch your head here, juan. over here there's a hot water heater. and you can see the bathtub. this is, obviously, the bathroom of this home that is now gone. the heat from this fire or whatever was so hot over here on the side of this structure, which is still standing, this looks like fabric, this is, i believe, the vinyl siding that is melted off the side of this building. and some of this vinyl siding we can see about 20 or 30 yards away hitting that building over there. i believe we're not that close
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to the blast zone, probably at least quarter to a half mile away. >> that was david from wfaa. cnn's david mattingly is in west, texas, as well. david, do authorities have a handle yet on how many people might be missing? >> reporter: well, here we are about 17 hours after that blast, and the answer is, no. and there's a couple of reasons for that. first of all, there's search and rescue operations that are ongoing right now. you just saw how badly damaged the buildings are a good distance away from the blast site. 50 to 60 homes, we were told, have been damaged. roofs peeled back, walls collapsed. some of these structures are just too dangerous for rescuers to go inside to conduct their search, so, they have to be shored up before anyone can go inside. the last thing you want right now is further injuries from people trying to help others. a second reason is in the chaos
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last night, there were some people who were able to just leave the scene after the explosion. they were lucky enough to be able to flee on their own. there were others like the injured of the ambulances, the police that showed up there at the scene, just putting people, as many as they could, in the backs of these rescue vehicles to get them to safety and to get them to help. so, it was difficult to account for everybody. at this moment, no one is trying to give us any idea exactly how many missing there are, and they are emphasizing, jake, this is still a search and rescue operation. holding out hope there are still people injured, possibly unconscious, in need of help somewhere in that wreckage. >> david, this plant contained thousands of pounds of the chemical anhydrous ammonia, that, of course, is a very combustible element. is there any concern about the chemical fumes still lingering? >> reporter: well, the short answer to that right now is, no. they really caught a break last
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night when this cold front came through with the wind and the rain diluting the chemical property of the anhydrous ammonia and blowing it away out of the area. there is another tank of anhydrous ammonia there on site, and we're told that tank is intact. we're also told there's still some smoldering fires around in the area, but they are down. they are not quite out, but they are down. they are completely under control, and at this point authorities are fairly confident that they have got both the fires and the threat of any further problems from this ammonia under control. jake? >> all right, david mattingly in west, texas, thank you so much. >> that rain last night, when we first heard about it, we were worried that would be bad news and, of course, it ended up being one of the small miracles here. the blast was so huge, we talked about how everyone's using the word bomb and nuclear bomb to describe it, the people there who experienced it, and it set
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off seismometers. not an easy word, obviously, for me to say. it measured 2.1, which is, obviously, wel below even minor earthquake status, but still it's a shocking rumble nonetheless. >> for a fire, incredible. >> it just gives you a sense, you talk about a fertilizer plant or what plants are near you that you don't realize are there, how significant they are. more than 160 people at this point we know have been injured. our george howell is with us now at the hillcrest baptist medical center in waco. last night i was talking to the president, he was kind enough every few minutes to update us on how many people were coming in to seek emergency care. all in, how many people have come and what's the nature of their injuries today? >> reporter: well, you know, erin, they are still doing a good job in that sense of giving us a lot of information as far as the number of people they've treated. we know at this hospital alone they saw 101 patients, 101 patients at this one hospital. we know that at least 28 of them
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are still being treated. and here in the next couple of hours, we're expecting to get another update from this hospital. they are doing it to make sure the community knows what's happening, and there are many other hospitals, several other hospitals, for instance, providence hospital took on 65 patients. scott & white nearby took on five patients and parkland hospital took on two patients. parkland has one of the best burn units here in the state. but when you talk to the officials here about taking on, dealing with an incident like this, take a listen to what they have to say. >> we are on alert, because especially as the morning breaks, the rescuers are continuing to go through the wreckage and it would not be surprising at all, and hopefully we will find, additional people that we can take care of. so, more than likely they would be brought here to our trauma center. we are on standby, especially coming up, our trauma team is
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here poised and ready to accept additional patients that rescue teams might find and transport to our facility. >> reporter: so, as this community and as these hospitals deal with what many people out here simply describe as a difficult, a scary situation, i want to show you one other thing that we saw, a line out the door at a blood bank here. many people came together to give blood, and one person i spoke to there said this incident has really brought this community together, so, you find people trying to move forward after a freak situation last night, erin? >> george howell, thank you very much, reporting from the hillcrest hospital. coming up at the top of the hour, we're going to be speaking with the mayor of west, texas. he's going to give us an update of the situation there. that's 3:00 p.m. eastern. also, this is the man who said it sounded like a nuclear blast last night, up next.
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resilience after terror, healing after heavy losses. and faith after evil shows its face. those were the scenes of today's interfaith service at boston's cathedral of the holy cross. it was called "healing our city." that was the official name of the program. music was a balm for wounded souls. ♪ president obama honored the victims of the boston bombings with emotional remarks. >> for millions of us, what happened on monday is personal. it's personal.
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that's what the people of boston are made of. your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that make us who we are as americans, well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. [ applause ] not here in boston. not here in boston.
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yes, we will find you, and, yes, you will face justice. like bill iffrig, 78 years old. the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast. we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we'll pick ourselves up. we'll keep going. we will finish the race. >> the president honored bombing victim krystle campbell, who was killed just weeks before her 30th birthday. he honored lu lingzi, recently moved to boston for graduate school to study math and statistics. she went with two new friends to see the boston marathon and was killed. and, of course, the president honored 8-year-old martin
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richard, the youngest victim. the president spoke of martin's wish written on a blue poster board, "no more hurting people. peace." >> people here in boston pause today behind the scenes the search for the person or people, because we don't know at this point how many people were involved. that search continues. a law enforcement source telling cnn that hundreds of investigators are working around the clock trying to identify at this point two men who have been captured in surveillance videos moments before the blast. pictures of these men also, and apparently they were hovering near the finish line. d deb, how much do you know about these men? you said they were looking at them as people to talk to, but now they are more than that. >> well, you know, it's so interesting, because this is such a fluid investigation and those photographs that generated so much interest yesterday
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amongst the higher levels of intelligence, now we're being told they are moving down the list a little bit. investigators have been searching through a number of images, those were particularly interesting because the young men got there early, there towards the finish line as the race was ending, and they both had two different bags. now we're being told, in fact, where they were sort of high up at the list, now they are gradually being moved down, along with a number of other people, a man seen running immediately following the blast, another man seen in the crowd with a backpack that looked eerily similar to the one in which one of the bombs were carried. all of them are slowly being moved down the list. investigators are ruling out people one by one. this way they can narrow the search. there are some people who they are very interested in talking to, but those images have been less widely circulated. the two young men we've had one of our top people at cnn who has reached out to some of the
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people who know those young men and looks like they were there because they were enjoying the race. spoke to law enforcement, and erin, as you know, they say, look, everybody's a suspect until they are not a suspect. while they are lower on the list, doesn't mean investigators won't go back to them. right now, there are other people that have taken greater priority, erin. >> all right, thank you very much. >> a lot of people in this town have one simple message for whoever did this, they messed with the wrong city. that's what our next guest says, author dennis lahain. he joins us live. plus, of course, dangerous storms being blamed for this sinkhole that's swallowing up cars in chicago. folks there are dealing with widespread flooding, cancelled flights, and streets completely closed off. we'll be right back in a moment. copd makes it hard to breathe...
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i'll get it together i promise... heeheehee. jimmy: ronny, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? ronny: i'd say happier than the pillsbury doughboy on his way to a baking convention. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. that's the only thing that can match the pain the bombings left behind is the fighting spirit that's been a part of boston heritage for more than 300 years. one native expressed it in the new york times. novelist dennis lehane writes, bostonians don't love easy things, they love hard things, blizzards, bleachers in fenway park, a good brawl over a contested parking space, two different friends texted me the
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identical message today, which was monday, they messed with the wrong city. and dennis lehane joins us now. they messed with the wrong city. it sort of captures the flint and fire of this city. >> yeah, we don't need that with false bravado, that's not posturing. the law enforcement is going to take care of this situation, we're fine. you're not going to change us. you're not going to change, essentially, who we are, you're not going to change our love of civil liberties and freedom. it's not going to change. next year when this marathon goes off, i bet there will be twice the number of people. nobody is going to back down, okay, take our civil liberty in exchange for a little security. it's not going to happen. >> but you do feel in talking to bostonians people still are, understandably so on edge. >> absolutely. >> perpetrators are still out there, a lot of people in the icu. it's not as though you haven't been affected. >> we've been completely affected, absolutely. it's how you act, how are we
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going to act 362 days from now, what is going to happen then. i will bet money this city says, no, no, no, we're good, we got it. we'll do it exactly like last time. might be a tweak here or there, but i don't think we'll be handing over our liberties just because some very maladjusted homicidal rage casings decided to roll a bomb into our marathon. >> this is a city that is, well, so deeply proud of its history, but also very close and small city. >> it's tiny. it's the size of milwaukee. nobody understands that. it's a really small town in a lot of ways. we have terrible weather. we don't even have spring. as you're seeing right now, there's no such thing as spring. we go into summer, which lasts a week and a half, then back into autumn. we were red sox fans for 87 years. this is not a city that is waiting for the sun to come out, waiting for somebody to tell us how to feel, waiting for the
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easy life. we're not built that way. >> also, the character of this town has changed so much ethnically. decades ago -- i'm from philadelphia, kind of similar, white ethnic, catholic. it's changing a lot, but the spirit is the same, the same fighting spirit. you picture it as a south kind of spirit, but you can be croatian or vietnamese, you're going to adopt that spirit. >> it seems to attract that type of person, i think. i think it seems to attract -- i work with a lot of brazilians when i used to park cars for a hotel right down the street from here and all those guys have four jobs. they'd look at me, you only got one job, what's wrong with you? my father was like that, he was an irish immigrant. it seems to attract that kind of personality. >> you said parked cars. >> did i really? what's in there? i wasn't even trying, that's terrible. >> let me ask you as an author,
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written celebrated novels, some have been made into fine films, as well, "mystic river," gone, baby, gone," "shutter island," do you see this inspiring a future work? >> yes, somebody with distance and plenty of time to respect what happened here could make something out of it. >> you? >> i'm not that guy. you kind of know what your sweet spot is by the 20 years in the business. this is not my sweet spot. this is not something i would write about directly. i might write about it obliquely in an op-ed piece, but i don't see writing fiction based on it. >> honor to meet you. >> thank you so much. >> thank you for coming, we appreciate it. good to meet you. to find out how to help those in need after the boston bombings and the explosion in texas head to cnn.com/impact. we should be learning the test results from those suspicious letters sent to a senator, roger wicker from mississippi, and president obama. plus, we're awaiting a news conference out of texas on the
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murders of a district attorney, his wife, and another prosecutor that could be a major development in the case. that's all coming up right" next. lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy.
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welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the boston terrorist attacks and, of course, the explosions in texas. i'm jake tapper along with erin burnett. quick update on other news developing at this hour. first, the suspicious letters sent to president obama and senator roger wicker of mississippi. lab results are due any moment to confirm whether or not they were contaminated with the deadly poison ricin. initial tests showed that they were. police believe they have the man who sent the letters in custody. they charged paul kevin curtis
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with threats against the president a short time ago. curtis was arrested at his home in mississippi yesterday. 46 senators voted no to expanded background checks, so the push now for gun control, 125 days after the horrific killings at sandy hook is, for all practical purposes at this point, we're going to call it what it is, dead. the legislation co-sponsor democrat joe manchin of west virginia vented anger this morning towards the gun lobby and its supporters in the senate. >> i can't figure why in the hell you're afraid to do when the facts are right in front of you to do what you got to do. >> if you let me get in the debate with nra and these are people i know, these have been people i've been very friendly with over the years, i think they made a big mistake. >> first, the whole argument was over whether having background checks would create a national registry, would the bill had
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said it categorically could not. cnn learned harry reid is pulling the gun legislation from the senate floor at this time. it could be resurrected at a later date, but for now, as we said, it's done. any moment, new details on the arrest and confession made in the murder of two texas prosecutors and the wife of one of those prosecutors, the wife of former justice of the peace eric williams was arrested yesterday. police charged kim williams with capital murder, according to her arrest warrant, she confessed to police that she helped her husband kill prosecutor mark hasse in january, then, she said she helped kill michael mcclellan and his wife last month. her husband was the triggerman in the murders. eric williams apparently blamed mcclellan and hasse for getting him removed as a justice of the peace last year. williams was arrested last week on a separate charge of threatening police who were investigating the killings. we'll take that live news conference right after this. and.
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i'm jake tapper here with erin burnett in boston. we're going to go now to kaufman county, texas, where there's a news conference about the murders of the texas prosecutors and the wife of one of those prosecutors. let's listen in. >> my name's kirby indy, i'm the chief of the texas rangers. colonel steve mccaul sends his rejects. he's tied up with the tragedy in west at this time, but he asked that i convey the message that law enforcement and the state of texas takes all the threats serious against its citizens. the murder of a public official such as a judge, a prosecutor, or a law enforcement officer is an assault against all citizens of this state, because it's an attack against the rule of law. and, therefore, society as a whole. from the very onset, everyone involved in this criminal investigation has been acutely
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aware of the vital importance of determining the identity of those responsible for this heinous act. we at the texas department of public safety, the divisions involved in this investigation, cid division, as well as texas ranger division and elements of the texas highway patrol are very proud of the combined efforts of all the various law enforcement agencies that participated in this investigation and brought it to the successful point it is today. most notably, recognizing the kaufman county sheriff's office and the federal bureau of investigation. this investigation's success is based upon the timely integration and coordination of the many considerable resources that were brought to bear. federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel have spent countless hours running down leads, interviewing people, and gathering evidence. we applaud their professionalism, their
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dedication, and their persistence, thank you. >> thank you, chief. good afternoon. i am the special agent in charge of the fbi dallas division, diego rodriguez. i'd first like to echo the remarks made by my colleagues. our investigative success to date was made possible by the hard work and dedication by many local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies that came together and did not hesitate to commit the resources necessary to examine each and every aspect of this -- of these cases. the scale of this joint investigation reflects the fact that nothing in our respective jurisdictions was more important than coming together to insure that justice would be served. every agency represented here today is to be commended for their diligent efforts in conducting a thorough investigation, all while continuing to keep the residents of kaufman county safe.
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i send my sincere thanks on behalf of the entire dallas division to the men and women who work persistently on these cases. i want to specifically recognize the primary investigators of the lead agencies for their tireless effort and exceptional leadership. for kaufman county sheriff's office, woodall and stewart. for the texas rangers, ranger eric casper, and for the fbi, special agents laurie gibbs and michael hillman. january 31st -- >> you have just heard from texas county officials that eric williams, the former justice of the peace has been formally charged with murder. we understand the bond is $23 million. i want to bring in sunny hostin, our legal analyst. this charge was expected to happen, but what do you make of it and what do you make of the bond? >> well, the bond, i expect it to be very high. when a prosecutor is gunned
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down, any law enforcement officer is gunned down, you know, law enforcement authorities make that the highest priority. so, certainly the high bond was expected. but i've got to tell you the facts of this case are unlike anything i've seen. it's almost like a hollywood movie. it's very, very rare that someone murders a prosecutor, because many know that prosecutors are almost like, you know, termites. you kill one, there are so many others prepared to take up the coal, so the fact that eric williams is now accused of these heinous murders, it's just so very shocking, erin. just because it's something that doesn't typically happen. eric williams is a lawyer, was a justice of the peace, which is a judge that handles mostly administrative duties, and, obviously, took his conviction after trial by these prosecutors personally. and it's just something that you rarely see. >> sunny, jake tapper here in
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boston. just following the prosecutors' case and how police have pursued this, obviously, eric williams and his wife are presumed innocent, but it seems like when they first charged eric williams the former justice of the peace, charged him with a different crime, threatening police officers. they had him in custody, separated him and his wife and must have worked separately on each one with the two of them separate. i'm asking you to speculate, but is that generally how a case like this -- how evidence would be gathered? >> absolutely, no question about it. i mean, we know at least i've seen some of the affidavits in it's classic law enforcement at technique. she admitted to being a part of this crime somehow. we don't know the extent of her involvement, but certainly what you do as a law enforcement officer is interview everyone, and if you get someone to turn the evidence, sort of the
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typical way people think about it, she'll probably be, you know, witness -- be a main witness in this case. so, i suspect that's certainly what happened here. >> all right. sunny, thanks so much. that's news from kaufman county, where they are charging eric williams with the murder of two texas prosecutors and the wife of a prosecutor, being charged in conjunction with his wife. >> all right. back to our other developing story, also out of texas this afternoon. as many disasters of this magnitude, the red cross is on the scene trying to help those displaced by the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of west. anita foster is with the american red cross. the first question, we know there's still a search and rescue going on here, we know there are people still missing, first responders still missing they are trying to find. how many people have you seen already who need help? >> well, we've seen a lot of
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people that need help, hundreds, because people have varying degrees of need. and it's important that we meet them wherever they are with their need. today just a couple hours ago were able to take our first look inside the neighborhood. we couldn't get all the way into the zone because search and rescue is still going on in some areas, but we were able to have a firm understanding of the utter fear that people had to have experienced that they were in their homes when this explosion went off. so, just without question means that people are going to need care here for a long time to come, and we've moved an entire array of services here, mental health counseling, our feeding teams, doing distribution of blankets today. unusual weather for us. it's 45 degrees and pretty chilly in texas, and a lot of people still don't have power. so, we're addressing those needs each step of the way to make sure every family gets what nay need to help them recover where
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they are at. >> anita, thank you very much. if you are just joining us right now and you want to help those affected by the texas explosion, go to cnn's impact your world, that's cnn.com/impact. up next we'll talk with a chemical expert on just how dangerous the air is right now in that tiny texas town and in the surrounding area. we'll be right back. we've reduced taxes and lowered costs to save businesses more than two billion dollars to grow jobs, cut middle class income taxes to the lowest rate in sixty years, and we're creating tax free zones for business startups. the new new york is working creating tens of thousands of new businesses, and we're just getting started. to grow or start your business visit thenewny.com before i do any projects on on my own.st at angie's list, you'll find reviews written by people just like you.
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i'm jake tapper here in boston with cnn's continuing coverage of the investigation into the terrorist attacks on the boston marathon, and we are just learning at this hour that the fbi here in boston is planning a 5:00 p.m. eastern news conference with the latest information about the investigation. that's 5:00 p.m. eastern, 2:00 p.m. pacific. and that's the latest into the terrorist attacks that left three killed and dozens injured. yesterday, as you all remember, we were waiting and everybody was hoping for an
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update that there would have been a press conference on whether they had more details on the people they were looking at. that did not happen. today, this is going to be very important and the big question will be whether they will actually release any video or pictures of the men they are looking at. >> we are told from law enforcement they have photographs or images of two individuals who were there at the marathon site and they've b been trying to decide whether or not they should release them to the public. in general, there's obviously a double-edged sword for that. the public can help, but also it would tip off those perpetrators or alleged perpetrators of the fact the law enforcement knows about them. >> that will be a crucial thing this afternoon. we've been talking about the heros here and the people who ran to the explosions instead of running away. brooke baldwin, i know you had a chance to talk to some firefighters. >> yeah, we heard the message, it was pervasive through the service today, i met a hero last
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night. we heard the mayor talking today about the firefighters, thanking them for breaking through the gates, making a hole, tending to the wounded. i want to introduce you to a 41-year veteran of the boston fire department, his name is charlie buchanan. 41 years, never done an interview and never experienced a day as the city experienced on monday. he rushed in when others rushed away, and the first body he saw was that of 8-year-old martin richard. he realized what was going on, realized he needed to quickly put a sheet over his body out of respect for this young, tiny boy. next to him lay his 6-year-old little sister, her leg gone. this is what he told me about that moment. >> i saw little girl that another guy grabbed. her leg was severed, the right leg, and behind her was a little
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person that had to be this little boy that they talked about. and couldn't do anything for him. his name was martin. and we put a sheet over him just out of respect for him. >> so, you knew -- >> then we went back to work. >> you knew immediately when you saw that little boy he wasn't going to make it? >> he was dead, yes, ma'am. he was dead, brooke. >> was that little girl who you saw with part of her leg missing, was she able to talk to you, or was she just crying? >> the little girl that was actually, i believe, a massachusetts firefighter had her. we stopped an ambulance and the ambulance was full, but we said, you have to take this girl. and they were great. they were boston ems, and this firefighter said, you know, she needs a -- her leg was as big as
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my arm. they put her inside the ambulance, but as you say, the only thing i could see, to this day, her little eyes looking up at me, that's it. and me thinking -- thinking about my own grandson, malachi, and my malachi is the same age as this young girl, who is 6 years old, who is -- first thing he did was give me a big hug when i went home. >> so, you're thinking of malachi as you're looking into this little girl's eyes. you describe this day as a bad day, charlie. you've been doing this for 40 years. >> yes, ma'am. >> was it the worst day you've ever seen? >> it's the worst day in my career, yes, it is. i can still see this little girl. i still see the little boy. i know people that know this
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little boy. he is a boston resident, all right. he doesn't live far from this fire house. >> and, you know, coming up next hour, there was so much more charlie and i talked about. he is a bostonian from outside of dorchester and we'll have his message to boston, one of healing, unity, and moving on, next hour, jake tapper. >> brooke baldwin, unbelievably moving and sad interview. thank you so much. we'll be right back. first word. (little girl) no! saw her first day of school. (little girl) bye bye! made a best friend forever. the back seat of my subaru is where she grew up. what? (announcer) designed for your most precious cargo. (girl) what? (announcer) the all-new subaru forester. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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welcome back to cnn's continuing coverage of the investigation into the terrorist attacks here in boston, and, of course, the incident in texas last night with the explosion near waco. i want to give you two looks at the blast that rocked that small town in texas. these go by fairly quickly. here's the first. it's slow motion. then the shot we'll freeze. the second view occurs in realtime. just watch. enormous power behind that blast that set off seismometers. they registered 2.1. joining us now from atlanta is doug mulford, a chemistry lecturer at emory university. thank you for joining us. what is the active material in the fertilizer that makes it so explosive? >> the explosion you saw was the
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ammonia burning. it set off probably -- it will take several days, but probably the pressurized tanks storing the high-volume ammonia they had on site that they were producing. >> of course, we know that fertilizer is often used in terrorist attacks. it has been in the past, although law enforcement authorities say that there's no reason to think this was anything other than an industrial accident. how safely and securely are companies obligated to keep material like this? >> well, obviously, you have to be very careful with anything like this that has the risk for explosion. there are protocols people follow and things we know from years of working with these chemicals on how to keep it safe and prevent, hopefully, accidents like this that occur. unfortunately, every once in awhile you get a situation like this where you have a fire in an unrelated part of the plant that spread to the storage tanks and then we see this tremendous explosion that we saw today -- or yesterday.
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>> all right. doug mulford, thanks so much for joining us. investigators search for clues in west, texas. right now they believe it's an industrial accident, but they don't even know what would have caused it. survivors are trying to pick up the pieces. >> i was actually picked up and thrown about ten feet. thank god i went upstairs. because if i hadn't, the couch that i had been on when i came down, i looked at it, the couch wasn't there. it was right in front of a big bay window and it was shredded from the glass from the bay window. if i'd been on that couch, i'd be dead. >> i'd be dead. that was kevin smith. he is alive. he was one that escapes. he joins us now on the phone. kevin, how are you doing right now? >> doing good. been better, but feel like i got run over by a truck, but other than that, good to be alive. >> good to be alive. just a miracle.
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i know you must feel in some ways. i want to show pictures, kevin, of your house, which i know are difficult for you to imagine everyone looking at, but can you tell us how far the damage goes in your home? >> it is totalled. it's a two-story house, the entire second story is collapsed down on the first story. the first story, all the windows, all the doors, most of the walls are blown out. the second story, the roof and the entire second story is collapsed down on the first. and there's huge holes. >> you know, we've -- i'm sorry, we've been reporting on how this is still a search and rescue mission, they are trying to account for everybody. have you accounted for everybody, all of your friends, all of your family, all of your neighbors? >> i've accounted for most of them. all my family i've accounted for. got my wife, my dad is still working, helping rescue people,
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and then my family lives out of town. but there's a few friends that were firefighters that were involved that didn't make it out. and paramedics that i know that i've been friends with for awhile. >> so, you do know some of those paramedics and firefighters who did not survive? >> yes, ma'am. i do have friends of several of them. i don't know if they've released the names yet, so i'm not going to say them. i'm friends with several of the medics, several of the ems. breaks my heart. >> well, kevin, thank you. and, of course, we respect you not saying their names. they are in everyone's thoughts and prayers as we try to find out, as we said here in boston, they ran to the explosion there in texas and some of them lost their lives trying to put the
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flames out. thank you very much, kevin. we'll be right back. these cool sliders. this one lets us know what happens if someone checks our credit. oh. this one lets us know what happens if we pay off our loans. yeah. what's this one do? i dunno. ♪every rose has it's thorn ♪just like every night ♪has it's dawn score planner is free to everyone. free score applies with enrollment in freecreditscore.com bret michaels slider still in beta. well, dad, i spent my childhood living with monks learning the art of dealmaking. you've mastered monkey-style kung fu? no. priceline is different now. you don't even have to bid. master hahn taught you all that? oh, and he says to say (translated from cantonese) "you still owe him five bucks." your accent needs a little work.
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alongside john berman here. this is cnn's special live coverage as several communities here this afternoon recovering and healing today. >> so much going on right here in boston investigators are working to identify people in pictures taken near the finish line of the marathon just a block and a half behind us right now. this is just before monday's explosions right here. this comes as president obama helps this grieving city say good-bye to those who lost their lives. >> we want to begin, we'll get back to boston, but we want to begin with this small town, population 2,700, west, texas, and the county that surrounds it. it has now been declared a disaster area this afternoon by texas governor rick perry. we heard from him around lunchtime. and that move comes in the wake of what governor perry called a nightmare scenario. so, this fertilizer plant fire that resulted in a massive explosion. explosion. take a listen. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
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>> are you okay? >> i can't hear! i can't hear! >> as this fertilizer plant continues to smolder right now this afternoon, authorities are not ready to give up on finding survivors trapped in the rubble from that blast. it could be felt 50 miles away. >> incredible, the reverberations from this blast and search and rescue teams are combing at this hour, as they have been for hours and hours through all the debris from last night's massive explosion. the thing is, and this is difficult here as we're trying to report on the story, they don't have a firm handle on the number of missing. the estimate is between five and 15 people are dead. more than 160 are injured. but again, those numbers are loose at the moment. the blast flattened homes up to half a mile away. take a look at this from our affiliate wfaa. >> i want to say some of the devastation we're seeing now that daylight is out, this
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appears to be what was a home over here, completely just obliterated, smoking, charred. if we keep moving around, i'll show you over here, you can see some remnants of the home. watch out for this power line here. watch your head here, juan. over here there's a hot water heater. and you can see the bathtub. this is, obviously, the bathroom of this home that is now gone. the heat from this fire or whatever was so hot over here on the side of this structure, which is still standing, this looks like fabric, this is, i believe, the vinyl siding. that's melted off the side of this building. and some of this vinyl siding we can see about 20 to 30 yards away, you know, hitting that building over there. and i believe we're not that close to the blast zone, probably at least a quarter to a half mile away. >> i want to take you right to the ground to this small town,
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tight knit town of west, texas. joining me on the phone is tommy mouska, the mayor of west. mr. mayor, welcome. i know it's been a very long night and a very long day so far for you. do me a favor and tell me do our numbers still hold, the 160-plus injured and the five to 15 fatalities. is that what you have, sir? >> we have about 162 in area hospitals. unfortunately, the number will be higher than that. we still don't know yet. we are still accounting for people and doing that as we speak. combing through the nursing home, the apartment complex, as well as the actual plant itself where we had -- we know we had seven west firefighters and two other individuals. >> mr. mayor, the governor rick perry still called this a search
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and rescue operation, which is significant, not a recovery operation. hasn't given up hope yet, but have you seen signs of survivors within this rubble? >> no, sir. we have not. not this afternoon. we still are holding out some hope, but right now we're just trying to get a hand around it and see. we've got dogs here and texas one and two search teams, so we've got the best of the best looking, and that's what we want to do, i want to count up all my citizens and all my firefighters. >> mayor mouska, we have a number of correspondents there covering the story, our own george howell and his crew found a staggering line of people lined up to donate blood. we have also read about these volunteers rushing to the scene last night.
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this tremendous response to this disaster last night, does that sound like west, texas, to you? >> it is. we had a nursing home with about 133 patients and it was a block and a half, two blocks away from the blast, and we had people in trucks and jeeps picking up people in wheelchairs, putting them in the back of the truck and getting them out of harm's way. that was going on for hours, and then just anybody and everybody was trying to help. and we appreciate it. right now we have people from all over the state helping us, firefighters, other departments helping us. we got kind of a handle on it, but it is the generosity of this community and this area to pitch in. >> we like to hear you're saying you have a handle on it here, mayor tommy mouska out of west, texas, thinking about everyone in town, family, friends, first responders, thank you. >> this is a small town, as
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governor rick perry said, everyone knows someone affected by this. >> everyone's lives were touched by this disaster. >> as the mayor said, it's not clear how many people have been affected directly, how much survivors or how many have been exposed to this anhydrous ammonia, that's a gas used to make fertilizer at the plant, and its fumes can be very dangerous. they can be suffocating and cause blisters and chemical burns. according to the dallas morning news, a report said the worst-case scenario at the facility would be a ten-minute gas release that would not hurt anyone. cnn affiliate wfaa reports the plant was fined in 2006 for having an inadequate risk management plan. back here in boston, we have now just gotten word the fbi, who we know has been leading
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this investigation into monday's bombing, they will be holding a media briefing on the investigation this afternoon, in just a couple of hours from now, 5:00 eastern time. we know the briefing didn't happen yesterday. we'll be looking for that to happen in two hours from now. hundreds of investigators, they have been working around the clock in search for the person or persons responsible for this horrendous terror attack on this city. a law enforcement source telling cnn that they are trying to identify two men caught in surveillance photos moments before the blast there near that finish line. the fbi, they need your help, but the photographs themselves are still being kept under closed wraps. they are not being released to the public. i know there are a lot of photographs floating out there on twitter, online, but they are not releasing them to the public. why, you ask? because they are afraid that could hurt the ongoing investigation. we're being told investigators, they are now ruling out people very closely, one by one, trying
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to narrow it down as they move down this list of potential suspects. as for the bombs themselves, they have been sent to an fbi lab in virginia, the bits and pieces you see here, technicians at this hour are trying to reconstruct the devices to try to get any clues to find sort of the genesis of the maker and work backwards. >> as this investigation continues in virginia, all over the city, and behind us where the crime scene is, today was a day to come together in resilience after the terror, healing after the heavy loss and faith after evil showed its face. those are the scenes of today's really remarkable interfaith service at boston's cathedral of the holy cross. it was called "healing our city." ♪
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president obama honored the victims of the boston bombings with really emotional testimony, emotional remarks. listen. >> for millions of us, what happened on monday is personal. it's personal. that's what the people of boston are made of. your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. if they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that deval described, the values that make us who we are as americans, well, it should be pretty clear by now that they've picked the
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wrong city to do it. not here in boston. not here in boston. yes, we will find you. and, yes, you will face justice. like bill iffrig, 78 years old, the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast. we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we'll pick ourselves up. we'll keep going. we will finish the race. >> we will finish the race.
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i mean, this was a prayer service, a memorial service yet broken up several times by wild ovation. that gives you a sense of the spirit inside that building. the president honored all those who were lost, including victim krystle campbell, who was killed weeks before her 30th birthday. he also spoke about lu lingzi, the 23-year-old woman from china who had recently moved to boston to study math and statistics. she went with two new friends to see the boston marathon and she was killed. and the president honored 8-year-old martin richard, the youngest victim of this awful attack. obama spoke of martin's wish written on a blue poster board, "no more hurting people, peace." >> you talk about getting emotional as a bostonian the president speaking, did you notice the young woman crying, a member of the boston's children's choir?
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pulled my heartstrings. so many people in boston were there simply to support this community while others were there to pay their respects, to pray for loved ones who are still in the hospital healing today from the wounds caused by not just one, but two explosions here in town. >> our son was injured. he was injured in the first bomb, but he's doing well. hopefully, he'll get out of the hospital soon. he got hit with a lot of the shrapnel, the bbs, shrapnel. surgeons had to take a lot of the stuff out of his head and nose and face. >> i really think it was just the whole tenacity of the people of boston and how this is the whole country's tragedy and how he connected everyone together. i thought he did a beautiful job. >> so true, tenacity, the perfect word here. let's go to don lemon, he's live
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in boston, as well. don, the consensus seems to be from the folks who were there, you were inside the church, the president's attendance meant a lot. his words were soothing, you were inside. what was it like, what did it feel like? >> i wish i could express in words, you know, brooke, exactly what it felt like. on the verge of tears most of the time, very somber and moving service. i got to sit next to the families who have members who had died and family members who had been injured in this particular event, and i got a chance to sit next to some of the dignitaries and not far from the president himself. there was a point where the president even teared up during the service. the people who were there were happy that the president came, not only the president, but the governor, as well, deval patrick. and people from around the country came, as well. interesting enough, bradley cooper, the actor, was sitting
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not far from me. it was very well attended. i got to see big, sturdy guys broken, john, 6'4", 6'5" guys holding back tears, really, giving a stiff upper lip when the president said they messed with the wrong city and then the standing ovation. one of the most moving parts, to me, was from master rudetti from the american islamic congress. i thought it was important because i thought you bridged the gap between foreign and domestic terrorism, about being someone who's a nationalized citizen and also having to deal with terrorism yourself. you were in damascus as a child and experienced a car bombing and now this particular experience. you just became a nationalized citizen. >> even in between experiences, the horror and terror of 9/11. for us having the president come here and having governor patrick stand in a show of solidarity and unity, very powerful and
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strong message. >> before you got up to speak, you got a chance to meet with the president and the families. >> yes, i briefly shook hands with the president and the first lady. i knew already governor patrick, and it was very moving moment. very solemn moment. >> how did you prepare for this, was it something you wanted to make sure you got across from your particular sermon? >> i think it was very hard to capture a lot of complicated feelings and emotions, and at times these feelings are raw and have a very short time. that's the quickest shortcut was to speak from the heart, because today and since the bombing, all of us here in boston, i think, need a hug. >> i think not only boston, but the entire country needed this. again, thank you very much. brooke and john, very moving service. not just boston, but the country needed it to hear that and needed to grieve, as well. the grieving is still going on here. it's not over yet, guys.
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>> yeah, just hearing his story really resinated, i think, when he was a young boy in damascus and monday brought him back into that day. >> all the speakers, they really hit the right note for bostonians. i grew up here, and for so many people, boston itself is like a religion. and in some ways, this service was like a religious revival, really a remarkable, special thing. >> boston invented america, according to the governor here. coming up next, we want you to watch the right side of your screen, because the white car you will see here on this road, right there, isn't on such stable ground. take a look to the left of it. >> oh, my goodness, look at that. >> taking a huge tumble inside this massive sinkhole. folks, this is chicago. more on this stunning video out of chicago next. at a hertz expressrent kiosk, you can rent a car without a reservation... and without a line. now that's a fast car. it's just another way you'll be traveling at the speed of hertz.
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we have to show you some simply crazy video out of chicago, which is right now under a flash flood watch. there's this 40-foot-wide sinkhole and it's simply swallows two cars and it's not done yet. it swallows a third. a driver of one of those cars was injured. the sink hole was probably triggered by this heavy rain there. seven inches have fallen on chicago in the past 24 hours. these floods have caused -- closed several expressways in the area and some 400 flights in chicago already cancelled. i want to bring in meteorologist chad myers and jim spellman. this flooding, widespread there.
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>> reporter: it's amazing how intense the rain was and how quickly some of these neighbors flooded. you mention almost seven inches of rain in 24 hours, they get three inches of rain on average in the month of april in the chicago area. too much for the ground to take. i'm on the edge of it, a foot from the deepest part. much worse inside the homes. i got a chance to go inside this home, there's a refrigerator and freezer bobbing, three or feet of water, but they could get another inch of rain here later today and into the evening. with the ground this saturated, that could be more flooding for these low-lying areas like elm hurst, john? >> more water they simply don't need, thanks, jim. >> chad myers, people there want to know when this is going to stop. tell us. >> it's been a tremendous amount of rain. i haven't seen training like this in a long time, but it does end tonight, brooke, to answer your question. it's like a train. think about a train on a train
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track, one car goes directly over where the other car just went and every storm has been going right over where the last storm just went over. now we're getting more and more, one storm after another after another and that's how you get seven to eight inches. 530 flights cancelled out of chicago and midway put together. just about every other flight was delayed today. the weather is moving to the east. detroit, down to toledo, even a chance of some severe weather today, some potential tornados today, tornado watches all the way from flint, back down into arkansas. this is what happens in april. this is what happens in spring when the warm air tries to push the cold air back into canada, hey, it's time for me to warm up and the cold air says not so fast and pushes it back down. snow today, could be five or six inches of snow in green bay. snow in most of western minnesota and all the way back to omaha and norfolk, nebraska, seeing snow. cold on one side, stormy in the other. let's show that video again, because it's so amazing.
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these cars, already two cars in this hole. and the driver here on the top thinks i'm going to be okay, i'm going to be safe. no way. the whole thing falls straight back into the hole again and now there are three cars in the bottom of the pit and the police don't want to let anybody get close to these cars because they knew this at some point was going to happen. only minor injuries the first couple cars. pictures you don't get to see very often. >> quick question, chad, were they just parked, was no one in the cars, is everyone okay? just want to make sure. >> the two actually -- one did go down, the other ones were on the side of the road parked and moved down. this happened in the dark, remember, this started, you know, in the wee hours of the morning. so, the car that was there, just fell in. the driver actually got out, stopped the car, saw it in time, got out of the car, and it fell in. think about this, if you see that at night, you wouldn't even know that was there. plus, if that could have been
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filled with water, you wouldn't have known that was there. that's why we say if the water is covering the road, don't drive into the water because you don't know if the road is really there or not. >> there is a reason you say that over and over, chad myers. chad, thank you so much, and jim spellman outside of chicago, thank you. we have some more dramatic pictures to show you coming out of texas right now. really one of the major stories we're following today, this fertilizer plant basically transformed into a fireball. >> and it's this fire led to a major explosion that a passerby just happened to catch on tape. >> the man who shot this video joins us live just ahead.
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welcome back, everyone. pretty big news developments to tell you about. just a short time ago in kaufman county, texas, a second capital murder charge was announced in the murders of two texas prosecutors and one of their wives. >> today we're announcing the
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arrest and charging of two individuals with capital murder related to the death of mark hasse, mike mclellan and cynthia mclellan. eric kyle williams is being held in the kaufman county jail on multiple charges, including capital murder with bonds totaling $23 million. >> this is former justice of the peace eric williams, who was just charged. his wife, kim williams, was charged with capital murder yesterday. she confessed to police that she helped her husband kill prosecutor mark hasse in january. remember hasse was gunned down in broad daylight in front of a courthouse. she also told police she helped her husband kill district attorney mike mclellan and his wife last month. now to the suspicious letters sent to both president obama and senator roger wicker of mississippi. here's what we know now, the lab results are due any moment to confirm the letters are, in
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fact, with ricin. yes, they were. police believe they have the guy that sent the letters, they charged paul kevin curtis. curtis was arrested at his home in mississippi yesterday. 46 senators voted no to expanded background checks, so the push for new gun controls, 125 days since the killings at the sandy hook school, for all practical purposes, dead, at least for now. the legislation's co-sponsor democrat joe manchin of west virginia vented his anger this morning towards gun lobby and its supporters in the senate. >> i can't figure out why you're afraid to do when the facts are in front of you to do what you need to do. if you let me get in a debate with the nra, these are people i know and have been friendly with over the years, i think they made a big mistake. >> cnn learned senate majority
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leader harry reid is pulling the gun legislation from the senate floor. it could be resurrected at a later date, however. coming up next, we are expecting a live news conference out of west, texas from the developing situation there, the fire that led to a massive explosion at the fertilizer plant last night. 160 people injured, five to 15 fatalities. search and rescue operations under way. they are looking for survivors, including firefighters, first responders. anderson cooper just touched down in texas. he's going to join us live. stay here.
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welcome back, everyone, john berman here along with brooke baldwin. we're a block and a half away from the finish line of the boston marathon where the bombings happened on monday. the investigation still very much under way right now. also, the recovery, the victims, those injured, still in the hospital. their health improving by the day. we learned a short while ago michelle obama, the first lady, went to a couple of these hospitals to visit with the medical staff there, as well as to share time with those injured. she went to brigham and women's hospital and children's hospital where some of the youngest victims are being treated. i'm sure that helped lift their spirits. meanwhile, at yet another great hospital in this town, mass general, there's a news conference currently under way. we wanted to listen in for a
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moment. >> well, the president met with each of our patients who were involved in the bombing. his conversations with them are between he and the patients themselves, so i'm not going to relay the details of what they discussed, but it was extremely uplifting for them. i think in some ways incredibly inspiring that he would take time out to come visit them and, honestly, have a sincere interaction with all these folks who have been hurt. >> reporter: how about for you, in his speech -- >> i don't know anything about that. i've been here all day. >> reporter: so, during the cathedral he spoke about you running the marathon and just as one shining example of many that
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were out there in the last couple of days of really putting everything aside and laid it all out there. >> yeah, well, like i said, i've been here, essentially, since the bombing on monday. i haven't watched the news that much. i'll certainly watch his speak back. i'm flattered that he would mention me, but since you're all here and i have the microphone, that means for a moment i get to say what i want, and what i want to say is to make sure that everyone recognizes that this is not an individual sport. the marathon might be, but taking care of all these patients is not an individual sport. at the end of the day, i'm just a cog in the machine, and what makes this great, what makes our care great, is not me and i like you, alice, but it's not alice,
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it's the system. it's all of us together. and it's the massachusetts general hospital and the construct under which the system functions and how we guide ourselves and the principles we use to take care of our patients. so, if there's anything that's the right message, the right message is, i'm flattered that apparently he mentioned me in his speech, but it's not about me. it's about the hospital and the system. >> reporter: have you had the opportunity to speak to the president today, and what was that conversation? >> yes. we had the opportunity to talk quite a bit. and i can just say i'm honored. >> reporter: what did he want to know about the patients, what were you able to relay to him about the severity of that -- >> you've been listening to one of the doctors there at mass general hospital, and, you know, he said, obviously, we learned
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the president went to meet and visit with a number of the survivors there. but the fact he said, look, i'm just a cog in the wheel, it's the humility of the doctors, the first responders, the firefighter, what, i was just doing my job. people are doing their jobs here in boston and in west, texas. i salute them. >> the investigators are very much still at work here. when we come back, we have some new information just in about these photos we've been telling you about. stay with us after the break. all stations come over to mission a for a final go.
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back here live in boston. still a crime scene, police saying the most complexed crime scene they have ever seen here in boston and everyone holding out hope to find the persons or person responsible for monday's horrendous terror attack here in town. we're all hoping to learn, glean information from some of the
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photos. this is one of the most photographed events on the country. deb feyerick has been working her contacts. just two people in pictures that authorities are looking into. >> not just those two people, it's a lot of different people. investigators look through all the images and see something about a particular person or people that seems abnormal, so they have to see context that exists within the photo itself and see what is going on. these two young men happen to hit the radar because each of them had a backpack, the backpack seemed unusually heavy, certainly big enough you could carry one of these pressure cooker devices. so they have to look and figure out who those guys are. they have a number of images, and these images were going to the highest levels of intelligence to ascertain does anybody know who these guys are. well, it turns out after a
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generated interest, people began to phone in and say we do know who these guys are, and once the investigators stepped in, their importance went from high to less high. i don't want to say they've ruled anybody out, because even investigators will tell you nobody has been ruled out or identified by name. they have been identified by images, so it's interesting. they are being very, very careful how they discuss this, because clearly these two young men, if they have been ruled out or are in the future, their lives are ruined and it's because of speculation of what they were doing in the crowd at that moment near the finish line. >> these are the two photos that did cause so much excitement yesterday and then were passed around to law enforcement agencies, state, local, federal, all over the country, now their importance going from high to
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not quite as high. >> think of it as a top ten list, okay, you always have the top ten. so let's say they went from number one to down lower, down lower. we don't know where, but clearly there are so many other people they are looking at, that they are identifying and saying this doesn't look right. this man, for example, there's an image of a man standing near a tree, not too far off where a device went off. he raises an importance. so, it's really just kind of sifting through the sand and they've got to identify each individual grain of sand, and that includes the people in the images of people in the crowd. not just people here in boston. you have witnesses who were here from all over the world. >> right. >> that even broadens the scope of how big this investigation is. >> ruling people out is just as important as ruling people in. deb feyerick, thank you so much for that information. here we are now three days after the bomb shattered boston's most biggest, iconic day, patriots day, marathon monday. the city came together today to
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seek comfort to honor the victims and begin the healing process. a lot of victims now carry the physical scars and many more will forever bear the emotional wounds. while so many people, you saw the smoke, you saw the blast on monday, many people were trying to get out of there, you have first responders like veteran boston firefighter charles buchanan, jr., he ran towards the smoke, covering the dead, tending to the victims. and through his own pain he talked to me about the strength of his city and the love for his fellow firefighters and bostonians. >> it is the worst day. it's the worst day for the city of boston, but we will -- we will survive. we will learn by this, all of us will, and we will be prepared that much better. you know, we will not give in to these individuals or whoever it may be that comes and hurt us. >> do you feel like you're still
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numb at all? remember after 9/11 a lot of people were walking around kind of numb and one day it hits them and they are furious. are you angry? >> i am angry. i am angry. i cannot compare it. i went down and paid my respects, as all firefighters do here, and we do that, and we do it well. we take care of our own. and i mean that. the -- excuse me. the people that i work with are like my brothers. the nation, the nation, we will heal. we will not forget. we will unite, and we will be stronger. y.
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i want to take you now to west, texas. this is this tiny population, 2,700 town here that is just about 20 miles north of waco. absolutely devastated by this explosion at a fertilizer plant. >> are you okay? >> i can't hear! i can't hear! >> listen to those sounds.
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cnn's david mattingly is on the ground in the town of west. david, what's the latest on the search for possible survivors? >> reporter: i'm afraid the latest right now is the same thing we've been hearing for several hours now, that there is a very active search and rescue operation under way, but we're not finding out at this moment what they are finding, what they are encountering as they go through the rubble of some of these buildings. there's a couple of problems with the search and rescue that's going on right now. first of all, they are having to deal with buildings that have been severely damaged by last night's blast. some of these buildings have to be shored up, debris moved away, some of it's too heavy and requires specialized equipment because you don't want to go in there and perhaps do more harm to someone who might be trapped in there or even put one of the rescuers in a position of being hurt while they are trying to help someone. so, they are being very careful, very methodical going building to building looking to see what
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they might be able to find now that they have daylight and time and equipment and manpower to go through these buildings. so, a very slow and tedious process. people here still trying to come to grips with the magnitude of that explosion in this very little town. governor perry put it very directly saying that this town is so small that everyone here has been directly affected by it. every family directly affected by it. so, right now this is where all the media has gathered. it is a livestock auction facility, a makeshift command center, if you will, right now for all the news releases that come out. we're waiting to see when the next official response is going to be, but right now there's been no change, no official numbers released all afternoon. >> all right, david mattingly in the town of west, texas, right
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now. still such a fluid situation right there with the search and rescue operation under way. weather's been an issue, so many problems they are facing right now, and as the governor rick perry, said, everyone in that small town has been affected. it has been a tumultuous night, a tumultuous day in that town. we want to show you some of the sights and sounds that we've been seeing there. >> we need every ambulance we can get this way. a bomb just went off inside here. it's pretty bad. >> there are homes leveled. there are businesses leveled. i don't know how many folks may still be trapped in rubble. homes have been destroyed. there are homes flattened. part of that community is gone. >> the windows came in on me. the roof came in on me. the ceiling came in. i worked my way out to go get
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some more help, the whole 1500 block of still meadow. my son lives there. he was on the second floor. that whole street is gone. >> beat up, hurts. but i'm alive, so happy. i was actually picked up and thrown about ten feet because i was standing at the end of my bed and then where i landed was by the bathroom about ten feet closer into the house. thank god i went upstairs, because if i hadn't, the couch that i had been on when i came down i looked at it, the couch wasn't there. >> this is a horrifying situation. they're going to be just trying to deal with the aftermath of it. >> it like picked you up. it just took your breath away. and then it dropped you like it exploded everything around you. >> i walked through the blast area. i searched some houses earlier tonight. massive. just like iraq. just like the murray building in
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oklahoma city. it's just overwhelming to us for a town of 2400 we have three ambulances. >> any idea of the number of missing? >> i don't know that. i know that we've had 160 plus that have been treated at our local hospitals. we know that we have several firefighters that are still missing. we have accounted for the law enforcement official. he is in the hospital in critical condition. we're still looking. >> what would you compare this to? >> an atom bomb. capella university, you'll have the knowledge to advance your career while making a difference in the lives of patients. let's get started at capella.edu.
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or so people. more than 160 injured. at this time estimates of fatalities are just that, estimates. really guesses by authorities. authorities are using the figures anywhere from 5 to 15 people but that is really a guess. even though this explosion occurred about 8:00 p.m. local time last night we are still very early hours in this search-and-rescue operation, in this investigation into exactly what occurred. >> then the numbers change as you know and at some point they make the decision to go to search and recovery. that hasn't happened. unlike boston where there were buildings as a result of the explosion that were flattened, that has changed this. in boston you had the concerns about the primary blast and secondary blast but here you have the concerns about the fire as well, these buildings, and the rescue going on in there. also, the initial concerns about the chemicals, themselves.
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my understanding is that concern has been lifted but there is concern about this chemical that is typically stable but in the presence of a fire can actually become quite explosive and flammable. >> it's a nitrogen fertilizer that is in a gas form, naturally but is stored in a liquid form and is compressed and stored under very controlled temperatures. >> if it gets out of the typical conditions because the pressure from the tank goes away it is sort of lighter than air and wafts off into the atmosphere. in a condition like this though it can stay close to the ground and create an ammonia fog. that was one of the initial concerns why rescue workers with wearing respirators to try and protect themselves. it sounds like the air conditions have not been a concern with that concentration in the air. >> as sanjay said it certainly was a big concern for the volunteer firefighters and ems workers who arrived on scene. the blast occurred around 8:00
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local time. the enormous explosion you've seen no doubt on cell phone video cameras. there was actually a fire about half an hour before that, that first responders, firefighters were called to. they were on site battling the smaller blaze when the larger explosion occurred. exactly what caused the fire we don't know. nobody knows at this point. it is not even at an investigation stage. it is still very much a search-and-rescue operation. they are methodically going through a surveyed four to five block area around this plant, you know, there is a lot of damaged structures, a housing -- apartment complex, one side of it basically sheared off. the nursing home as well. and there was a nearby school. a number of houses as well. so there's a lot of property to go through. they want to go through it methodically, very, very carefully just to make sure they
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do not miss anybody. and that's why the -- we haven't seen really a change in the number of confirmed fatalities and wounded because, simply, authorities just don't know at this point. >> i think you mentioned, this is a small town. 2800 when you talk about a four to five block radius. that is sort of the town. there's not much more beyond that. the hill crest hospital, which we were talking about a bit last night just to give you a reference that is a 237-bed hospital and they're taking most of these injured, some of the burn patients my understanding are going to parkland which is a world renowned burn center. this is a trauma center. they are trained to do this. in fact we're going to be with the red cross a little later on. we've been doing some -- they've beelpingome of the paents acty get to theitaleehat like for them. they've also been